To Write Magic Is To Become It (The Book of Life – A Book Review)

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3)

Author: Deborah Harkness

Published: 2014

On Goodreads

My Rating:

Rated T for transcendence above utter darkness and debauchery and devils.

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligence that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change. – Phillippe De Clermont

While Matthew and Diana have returned home from their time-travel to Elizabethan times much is array and new crises have arisen and old enemies returned. Together, with their family and allies, they search for the Book of Life and its remaining missing pages, determined to discover its secrets which could aid them by answering their burning questions about who they are, where they came from, and the shape of the future. But enemies threaten them from all sides as they change everything. As the future changes so should everyone adapt, and Diana and Matthew do just that.

All Souls Trilogy Reviews

A Discovery of Witches

Shadow of Night

As you know, (or possibly not LOL) I read this trilogy as a part of my 2019 New Year’s Resolution where it was my goal to read a few series I’d always wanted to tackle. I didn’t think it would take almost all of March to finish this. And, I finally got to finish the All Souls Trilogy! WOO! I can’t believe it took so long. Right from the start, this did not disappoint and it didn’t hold back an ounce. Still gorgeous and wonderful storytelling and imagery. The attention to detail is magnificent, rivaling Alice Hoffman. I will lust after this trilogy forever.

Suggy Emotions

The story picked up right as Diana and Matthew time-walked right back to their time and so much had changed. Though School of Night enveloped me in history, this one was analytical and science based which was a unique angle I’d never seen before. This wasn’t approached as if the supernatural was a science project to be completely explained as such, but in a sense, they were to be explored more thoroughly to give a more realistic approach to the supernatural. Something that was fallible. Nifty.

The hunt for the Book of Life only grew even more intense with some unbelievable results that left me breathless. I won’t say more because that would be a massive reveal and I can’t do that to you in case you haven’t read this trilogy yet. Though science played a larger part in this book, magic still laced every page, especially when the book was finally revealed. Just…wow. I could feel that book.

Villains were still being dastardly villains. Gerbert and Knox were still out to destroy them and those who sided with them. Gerbert was determined to keep with the old, traditional ways of the Congregation’s segregation of each species while Knox was a power-hungry Nazi leech. A new enemy arose, ready to destroy Matthew entirely and breed a deadly disease. Benjamin, Matthew’s vampire son. A nightmarish fiend that is capable of unimaginable horrors. They certainly made me shudder and blanch, especially when it came to his involvement with Phillipe’s death.

Tragedy and joyful, Harkness hit from one end of the spectrum to the other with my emotions. Losing Emily was hard and broke me. Still, Diana’s twins and the reunion with Jack and Gallowglass was heartwarming and made me ooze. No longer was this quest just about Matthew and Diana, but about the entire family. Still, I was disappointed that Agatha, Nathaniel, and Sophie weren’t included as they were previously. Their inclusivity really helped seal the alliance of change that Matthew and Diana had created before their time-walk. Yet, the addition of Diana’s friend, Chris, and human, filled that hole a little.


Don’t even get me started on Diana and Matthew…too late! Talk about an OTP. For-fecking-real. Non-stop love and wholesomeness. Not an inkling of toxicity. A full partnership of respect and love and magic. These twoo make me me a ridiculous mess. I’m talking old-school grab my chest before my heart leaps from it, stop breathing, forget what day it is, get lost and leave the world type of mess. No matter how tough things got, and they got really scary bad, neither of them gave up on the other.

Still, a this powerful conclusion to the trilogy with many branches that intertwine together so wonderfully. I was continuously in awe, utterly lost in this book. The magic swept me right off my feet as it has before with the two previous books. From the magic of a family bond to that of friendship and true magic.

Though so much was happening and there were so many characters, not once did I feel overwhelmed by it or find that it was all over the place because it certainly was not. No, the was well tended to like a garden. Beginnings found their ends while new beginnings were formed and left open to allow a slip of imagination to roll on. Honestly, I’d love to read a book about the twins when they are older. One on Gallowglass finding a mate for himself would be splendid. Have I expressed how much I love Gallowglass? Well, I do! SO. MUCH. Ugh, makes my fecking heart ache. I love Matthew, but Gallowglass gets me blushing. His love for Diana was both sweet but sad since she’d never feel the same for him, which was tragic since he’d watched over her for most of her life since meeting her in Elizabethan times. In a way, he knew her better than anyone…almost.

You know somebody I didn’t love? Baldwin. LOL. The vampire, and brother, to Matthew was a serious pain. He didn’t even grow on me, though Diana seemed to certainly grow on him. However, I can appreciate his stronger presence in this book if nothing else. I feel like I’m lucky when I come across a character like Baldwin. He wasn’t a case of terrible writing or placement or anything force, but genuine dislike. His stubborn attempts to bring people to heel constantly and keep order under his iron fist is just grating in the normal sense. Harkness brought such complexities to his character, like she’s done to each of them, that’s had me feeling deeply about them.


The second I opened this book I was lost once again in a world that surrounded me on all sides with magic and supernatural essence, filled with love, intellect, and so much more. I can go on and on about this trilogy. There’s so much. Spellbinding and remarkable. It was such a pleasure to read it and I believe it’ll be one I come back to one day. Read this if you haven’t. Seriously.


“Secrets, like the dead, do not always stay buried.” (Fernando, p. 29)

“Do not let the ghosts of the past rob the future of its joy.” (p. 64)

“Ah, yes, the elusive right moment. It never comes, Diana. Sometimes we just have to throw caution to the wind and trust the people we love.” (Matthew to Diana, p. 118)

“Even the darkest places need to be brought into the light of day, or else they’ll grow until they swallow a man whole.” (Matthew to Jack, p. 266)

“Vampires don’t tell tales for a reason. Knowledge is power in our world.” (Ysabeau, p. 314)

“I was about to become a book thief.” (Diana, p. 327)

“Magic was nothing more than desire made real, after all.” (p. 339)

“The secret is that I may be the head of the Bishop-Clermont Family, but you are its heart.” (Matthew too Diana, p. 447)

“Hearts cannot be broken, Diana. And only love makes us truly immortal…” (Matthew to Diana, p. 459)

More to come soon…                                                                                                


Song Today? Breathe by Angels and Airwaves.

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